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Now in its 302nd year, Royal Ascot remains the jewel of the racing calendar, attracting the genteel to three days of fizz and frivolous betting. V&E dusted off its finery and went looking for Irishmen with good tips.
Words: Russell Cook
Royal Ascot might be a royal affair, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let loose. Picture us dancing – shirt undone, a pitcher of Pimm’s in hand – to a bad covers band in the car park of a pub. Oh, we had fun.
That, you’ll be relieved to hear, was at the end of the day, once the races were run. We started things a little more tranquil, with lunch in The Bessborough Restaurant, courtesy of Sodexo Prestige.
The fizz flowed, tips were passed around and we got stuck into loin of cold smoked and cured salmon, a hearty fillet of Angus beef with horseradish-whipped potato, and dark chocolate fleur de sel with salt caramel and wild strawberry dressing to finish.
With sated tums and cocktails in hand, we moved out onto the semi-permanent structure’s sunny balcony, to watch the royal procession. It’s usually around then we find a savvy Irishmen to give us a hand choosing the right gee-gee for the upcoming races. No such luck this year.
Some won big, others lost bigger, and with the racing done, we trotted down to the bandstand for a very British sing-along: ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘We'll Meet Again’ to name a few. Well-oiled, courtesy of First Drinks, we waved Union Jacks and bellowed with aplomb.
Then, the inevitable walk down the hill to Jagz – cue a Pimm’s-fuelled bop into the night.
Best bit – Soaking up the rays on the Bessborough Restaurant balcony and getting our annual sighting of Elizabeth.
Room for improvement – More winning tips for the novices, please.
Suppliers – Sodexo, Red Tractor, Severn & Wye, Beluga Vodka, First Drinks for Piper, Monkey's Shoulder, Hendricks Gin and Remy VSOP.
Ascot, Berkshire, London SL5 7JX